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Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Intro: Director of University and College Programming

Cara in Bolivia in 2011

​Dear South America College Study Abroad Students,

Congratulations on joining an inspiring and diverse community of travelers, educators, students, and cultural ambassadors! Though the semester program is still a ​number of weeks, we are excited to initiate our relationship with you to help you ease into the exceptional experience that is Dragons. With the help of your families, friends, and local communities, this semester in Bolivia ​& Peru ​promises to be an unforgettable experience.

My name is Cara and I am the Director of ​University and College Programming at Dragons, which means that I will be helping to support your program from the U.S. while you are abroad in Bolivia​ & Peru​. I work closely with many others here at Dragons to do so – including Shino Yoshen, who you have all been working closely with as you have been preparing for the program.

A little about me; travel has been the cornerstone of my education. After graduating from high school in South Dakota, I took a big step out of my comfort zone by setting off for a gap year abroad program in southeast Asia. That first experience of traveling and learning about diverse cultures altered the path of my life dramatically.  Since that initial program, my desire to explore my place in this world has continuously grown. In university, I studied Political Science, Peace Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies and traveled whenever I could. As an undergraduate, I took advantage of as many study abroad opportunities as possible; participating in programs in Egypt, Northern Ireland, Ecuador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

In addition to studying abroad in Egypt, I also served for two years as a U.S. Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer in southern Morocco. In the years that followed, I was employed by a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Congresswoman, and also worked as a Morocco Instructor and Course Director for Dragons for several summers. In 2009, I set out to live in Egypt again, where I completed my Masters in Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo and conducted research around the region. Following graduate school, I continued to explore new parts of the world in my free time- travelling in ​Latin America (including in Bolivia!) and Africa. I also worked for a D.C. based non-profit for six years on the design and implementation of study abroad programs for American students in the Middle East.

In my role as the Director of ​University and College Programming, I am excited to work with you and your ​field staff during the coming ​s​emester. As we are in touch in the time leading up to your program, I hope that you will continue to see that Dragons programs are designed with intention, heart, and exceptional care. Moreover, I am eager to hear about how the coming semester impacts you and your desire to continuously explore our complicated and beautiful world.

Here’s looking ahead to a phenomenal semester in Bolivia​ and Peru​! Please feel free to post any questions you have to the Yak Board or reach out to me directly.

Cara Lane-Toomey

Director of Study Abroad

303-413-0822 X 117

[email protected]